Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Doesn't this book look inspiring?? It's "A Charming Exchange" by Ruth Rae and Kelly Snelling. And my dear friend and art buddy the famous Dawn Supina is featured in the book!! I am so pumped! I borrowed Dawn's copy so my sister Holly and I could get ideas for our day of playing with beads yesterday, and it did the trick! We took EVERYTHING out and spread it all over my dining room table and ooohed and awed over it all for hours. Holly makes the most beautiful jewelery from her huge collection of precious gem stones, silver and gold wire and chain, and crystals. She has all the tools, all the findings, and a lot of experience. It's not very often she gets to come and play, so we made the most of our time together and I at least mostly completed one piece yesterday afternoon.
She was kind of busy...doing other helping her seester. She's so wonderful like that!

I had so many ideas I hardly knew where to start! I did finally manage to make a necklace for myself, and I love it. It's chunky and asymmetrical and has rocks and stones and metal. I am going to add a little dangly, possibly an old silver charm from my friend Pat, to the point of the rock on the bottom of the necklace. Here it is...almost finished!

Holly ran off to meet here nieces and their new babies this morning, and this afternoon we are going to visit Nessa and Liam and little Ada. Tomorrow...who knows what we'll get up to!

* Edit: The stone with the three holes on the bottom of the necklace is drilled...this isn't one of the stones I found with holes already in them.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Ten Tiny Things

Don't you love a challenge? Especially when it involves taking photos of some of your favorite things? Me too!
When I read Kim's blog today, while I was waiting for the paint on my laundry room floor to dry (No, really, I meant to do that!), I checked out her blog. She had a link here to this challenge, and she also had a great photo already posted. The keener. Well, I can see why she was so's a super easy-peasy challenge, and it only takes a few minutes to do.

These are all little things found by the water. The cool shaped stones were found on the beach at Lincoln City, OR, on our vacation in 2007. They are very unique, and they all have really amazing holes in them. The one on the bottom right is heart shaped, and also has a heart shaped hole right through it! How cool is that?! It is one of my favorites. Well, that and the Birthday heart. (see below).

Here is a list (left to right...just like reading...)
  1. Lincoln City, OR beach stone-great hole (2007)
  2. Smooth shell from beach at Port Townsend, WA (1992-my Honeymoon)
  3. Sea glass from Port Townsend (1992)
  4. Black stone with white cross-from beach at Slave Lake, AB (circa 1979)
  5. Buffalo Tooth picked from edge of Old Man River and given to me by my friend Tyson as we were walking there. Who knows how old it is??? (Lethbridge, AB; February 2008)
  6. Sea Glass. (San Fransisco, 2008)
  7. Heart Stone-Gift from my son Levi's friend)
  8. Heart Stone -from walk up Wolf Creek, Canmore, AB, (2007)
  9. Heart Stone -Lincoln City, OR (2007)
  10. See above.
I collect heart shaped little stones whenever I see them...sometimes BIG heart shapes too. I have a huge heart shaped rock in my garden that I found once when we were out at Brazeau Dam.

It was my birthday, and we were out poking around in the was paradise for a rock collector like me! We were down near the water, the boys were tossing rocks and finding all sorts of great skipping stones, and I spotted a beautiful, big heart!

It was a long, steep climb up to the car...over loose rocks. Daniel carried this rock up that hill for me, and placed it in exactly the right spot in my garden when I got home.

Best gift ever! I confess, I'd rather have that rock to prove my husbands love than have him buy me a diamond.

Reuse it

Recycling is probably the easiest thing to do for the environment. I always look for ways to reuse things I have that have outlived their usefulness in my home. I often donate items to the local not-for-profit thrift store where my boys and I volunteer, or to the Re-Use Center in Edmonton where I love to "shop" for art supplies.
But what to do with a big, flat, purple exercise ball? Levi had a suggestion: "Land fill."
Nah. That just goes against my grain.
The ball was very heavy vinyl. Surely there was some useful reincarnation for it?

First I cut the ball along the concentric rings (it was a big oval ball, not a round one). I thought it would make super stretchy, giant rubber bands (for perhaps a slingshot? I know, I know, what was I thinking?) Unfortunately they are not very stretchy, but I think they will make great ties for hanging my garden hose in the garage this winter. I got a lot of these, about 2" wide and up to 18" in length. They are great!

That still left a big center section that was completely smooth. As I cut it and laid it out flat, it looked like great stamp material.

I found a design I thought might work and printed it off. I used a glue stick to adhere this print to the vinyl, then got to work with a safety knife, cutting away the negative design. It was a zen kind of job, best done while listening to a book on tape or some great tunes. It wasn't as difficult, or as tedious, as I had anticipated.

I only did part of the design, ending up with a 6" x 6" stamp that I will use in backgrounds on pages in my journal. I have a lot of the vinyl left for the next time inspiration strikes, or a design presents itself.
Or I may take the rest to the Re-Use Center to become some one else's treasure.

Monday, August 11, 2008


It was an absolutely beautiful weekend. We finally got in a trip to the beach. There were a couple of kayaks, two sailboats and a motor boat further down, but we had a half mile of sand all to ourselves.

The water was so clear, and sun was sinking in the west, over the lake, as we went in for a little swim.

My gorgeous sister's baby graduated from high school, so we all got together to celebrate the next day.

My brother's eldest also graduated.

My nieces are all so gorgeous, and sweet!

I hope your weekend was just as fun and special.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

New Backgrounds and a Photo Op

I'm off to the beach this weekend. Just a quick trip to celebrate with family. My brothers eldest and my sisters youngest are both graduating from high school this weekend. Very exciting!

I want to go to the beach so badly. It's SO beautiful up North, and the white sand is perfect! I can't wait to get my feet in the water. I'll take lots of photos

I found some great books to use as backgrounds, ala' Sarah, in place of dictionary pages. One is an old Grimm's Fairy Tales with no cover. The pages are so soft and worn, and the font and illustrations are really lovely. The other is an old cookbook. It's beat up and battered and the cover is trashed. It will work well too.

Must go finish packing. It's a three hour drive!

Thursday, August 07, 2008


I'll be away all day, and leaving early tomorrow for the graduation of my two beautiful nieces. Till I can get to my journal again, I'll show you a little something else I've been inspired to do.

This is my guest room.

My guest room has been a sorry site for the last couple of years. It has seen a lot of traffic, friends and family in and out...I live very close to the airport, and I often felt that I only had time to change the sheets between guests.
The room was stacked with extra blankets, blow up beds, books and "stuff". Grandson Liam's fold up bed is also stored there for his sleep overs.

Last week I was out thrifting with the lovely Dawn, and we stopped in to Home Sense. I found some yummy gourmet sea salts, and then checked out the final clearance rack in the corner.
As soon as I laid eyes on this beautiful quilt, part of a "Bed-in-a-Bag" ensemble, I had a clear vision of re-doing my guest room. I'm pretty sure I heard music playing in the background too. Swelling violins and strings. Or maybe not.

I was captivated by it, and with a little encouragement from my trusty companion, (No, not Lassie, Dawn!) I brought the set home. I didn't say a word to my hubby. He wouldn't have believed I had an actual vision, like Joan of Arc or something, and would have strongly suspected I'd been 'bibing. Bibbing? Whatever.

So there I was, the next day, ripping apart my guest room and bossing around my big, strong boys, while my hubby was at work. It was exciting for them. They love it when I get these urges. HAHAHA

I didn't take before pictures. Don't you hate that?! You look at the mess and the last thing you want is evidence. A reminder of your procrastination. That and having to run up a flight of stairs and get the camera.

But I love the results, and the boys were hardly tired after moving furniture, vacuuming rugs, banging nails, hanging pictures, fetching mini lights, moving furniture again....("no, on second thought it does look better over there") etc, so I made them run up the stairs, search the living room and the barn, and finally tear apart the car to find the camera. They didn't mind that either. Sweet boys.

It was worth it. And when they got to lead their blindfolded Dad down the stairs to see the results, they were very proud. And their Dad was terrified!

But not for long.

I think he heard music.

Journaling Phat!

I love looking through altered books, common place books and journals, especially art journals that are fat and bulging with colour and texture.
It gives me quite a buzz to handle them, and gets my mind racing with possibilities.

That book shown in the Jamie At Home show makes me drool! (You all know I am slightly obsessed with Jamie)
I WANT THAT BOOK! It's a combination journal/cookbook/sketch book and it's beautiful. It makes me break the commandment about coveting. I don't want your ass, but I DO want that book.
Unless I make my own (and I am thinking about it) it's just one of those dreams that I will never fulfill...holding it in my hands and flipping through the pages covered in little sketches and photos and probably oily drips.


I don't even know if it really exists. It may be a digital construction.
That would be terrible.
If you know for a fact that it's not a paper and paste, non-acid-free construction of real molecules, please don't tell me.
I don't want to know.
I prefer to live in my fantasy world. It's pretty here.
The birds are singing.
Thank you.

In the real world, I am on my way to having a phat (in the style of the Pointy Hat Art Posse) journal of my own. Sarah's Soul Journaling continues to inspire me, and with her away soaking up loads of inspiration herself, which I'm sure her generous self will share with all her loyal fans, I've been coming up with my own prompts and creating more pages of heft and hue.

The weight of this journal is starting to be very pleasing in my hand. It doesn't close (that's a good thing) and each page stirs up a maternal, or at least contemplative, feeling as I look through it's pages.

Do you Soul Journal? What are your books looking like? I've been looking at LOTS of examples, and seeing your progress, but mostly of individual pages. If you would leave me a comment with a link to the outside of your book, with it's fat, phat pages, I'd love to have a peek.
It will keep me from wallowing in despair over Jamie's. Thanks!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Dad would be Proud!

Woman: 1 Washing machine: 0! W00T!

I have always been a big fan of DIY. I hate paying someone else to do what I can do myself. That applies to fixing stuff too. Usually in my case fixing it was D.I.D ("Do It Dad" rather than Do It Yourself)
As my son put it so eloquently in my Dad's eulogy in April, "There were some members of the family that had active To Do lists for Grandad at the time of his passing".

*ahem* Guilty as charged.

Once my horrified middle son looked at our calendar and saw the following scribbled under the next day's date "Grandad coming: Change locks". I had to reassure him by pulling the new lock set for the back entry and holding it up.

Sharpening my kitchen knives was another task that fell to my Dad. My dull knives drove him crazy, so each visit he would hone each blade carefully till they had a perfect edge. I would walk around with band-aids on half my fingers for the entire week.

Dad felt up to most of his usual tasks for the year and a half after he was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. He built an amazing hot rod in his little workshop in between bouts of chemo. He visited his Dr in the city, staying with us and taking care of my little jobs in the evenings. The list, posted on my calender, beside his Cancer clinic schedule gave us both a welcome sense of normalcy during that time. He was still Dad, my hero, who could, and did, fix, build and repair anything. We needed that. It's who he was...always there for his family, all six of his kids and my Mom, not to mention dozens of friends and relatives.

His passing left a huge hole in the fabric of out days. But now, when something breaks or needs a little fixing, Daniel and I ask, "What Would Oliver Do?" And when the washer gorged itself on a rag rug and refused to spit it up, no matter how hard I pounded it on the back, (don't tell me that's not your first response too!) I set to figuring out how I could do Dad proud.

I found what I thought was the problem, took the panels off, disassembled the hose from the pump, flushed, and dug out the gunk, and put it all back together. It works. Of course. I had the very best teacher, and all those years of watching Dad, and handing him tools and driving to the hardware store...again....have paid off.

Thanks Dad.

And Dad? I bet you're especially proud of me...not ONE bad word.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Happy Birthday Liam!

It's Liam's 2nd Birthday today, and we all got together yesterday to celebrate.

It was a holiday here in Canada...because, well, it sucks not to have enough reasons to have a long weekend and a party,* so we arbitrarily decided we needed another one! Yaaaaay Canada! Yaaaay Liam!

We ate. A lot.

The Grandma's got a lot of Ada snuggle time in! She's so adorable! (And ticklish!)

There was a lot of food to eat. So we did.

There were big trucks to drive.

We had presents. Even the live one survived. Liam named his new pet fish all by himself! He called him "Fishy". Actually, "Fisssy."

The biggest hit with Liam was his brand new John Deer tractor and wagon from Unlcles Joel and Josiah. With a trailer load of farm animals. And a Mr Potato Head from BFF Jael.

He also got a cool ride-on car from Grandma and Grandpa Town. Which Grandpa Farm and Uncles Josh and Levi put together so they could all take it for a spin in the neighbouring JW parking lot. Josiah was King of the Road!

And look! Hand knit backpack-goodie bags for the little ones, with a little knit finger puppet in the pocket!! And they're full of treats!! (Which we ate. Yes, even the ones that spilled in the grass. It added roughage.)

I can't believe my sweet baby Grandson Liam is two. His Grandma Farm and I were both there two years ago to welcome him into the world, to cry and laugh and congratulate each other, (and his beautiful parents!) It was one of the happiest days of my life, and I will never forget that feeling of joy and fullness and rightness in the world.

Each time I spend time with them as a family, I have that same feeling.

Happy Birthday Liam. I love you!!

*The author of this blog actually has no idea why the 1st weekend in August is a holiday. But she's not going to be looking a gift fish in the mouth or sniffing a dead horse. She will take it and shut up about it!

Monday, August 04, 2008

More Soul

I played more in my Soul Journal today. It's so beautiful sitting out in the sun with the birds singing as I work. It inspired this page, which was prompted by Sarah's Day 18 instructions in her Soul Journal project.
The instructions were to do a page and journal words. Words about what the process of the Soul Journey is all about. I normally don't like to look at my handwriting on a page, but I'm happy to report I'm gettin' over that.

I journaled something to that effect here. I think it's going to add a whole new feel to my journals. Thank you Sarah! You continue to inspire!

I am enjoying all the comments and visitors too. I'll be checking out all your journal pages, and seeing the amazing lives shared here. You're all so generous and inspiring! Thank you!

This was a page that was giving me grief. No other way to put it. I didn't enjoy doing it, and I didn't like the result. One of the prompts was to go back and add to it. When I looked at it again, the grid pattern reminded me of windows.

Ah! Windows let in light! I added some light, and some words that remind me of how to get over all the junk and the dark stuff. It's simple Truth. Now I'm happy again.

Another page that I went back to. It was page 1 and 2 from Day 17 (I think).
Dawn gave me a challenge, and though I think she had a collage in mind, I loved the grid exercise so much from Day 9 that I did a similar thing over top of my background. I then gave it a wash of burnt umber to tome it down. F-U-N indeed.

I had a busy day yesterday reinventing my guest room. I'll post some pics later. It looks totally different, and pretty.

I tell ya', the inspiration from this Soul Journaling is carrying over.

Now if it would just inspire me to get at that washing machine thing.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Are you hungry?

There's something yummy on the menu...check out Creative Sandwich for a taste of what's to come on this brand new may leave you wanting more.

And there are no calories!

Saturday, August 02, 2008

More Random Journal Fun and stuff

I know I keep saying it, but I love these random order prompts...I would never get tired of them. These are page 3, 4, 5 and 6 from the day 16 prompts. Sarah is still off having a great time. Yay for her!!

I've been playing out in my garage, with the big doors open and the sun streaming in and some music on and my laptop nearby. I can make as much mess as I want and I don't have to worry, I have lots of room.

I cleaned my garage out this was so full of stuff we couldn't walk in it, let alone park the van there. My motivation for cleaning it was NOT to get my vehicles out of the elements, it was to have a space for projects..for the boys and myself. Daniel has his gym set up out there with a cage and his Olympic weights, and he's more motivated than ever to work out.
Josh has been taking apart stuff, and working on more of his amazing styro-foam models and planning on working on Steampunking something. We saw so much cool Steampunk at Maker Faire in San Fransisco this spring that it is inevitable that he will want to try it out.
Levi has been putting my toes in peril by zooming as close as possible to catastrophe on his scooter.

I won't have time to play today. My washing machine swallowed half a rug (the pig!) and refuses to drain.
Instead of calling a repairman I deciced to ask, "WWOD". (What Would Oliver Do?)
Oliver was my Dad, and he has always been just a phone call away. Since he's gone now, I decided that all those years of being the handyman helper has surely caused some ability to rub off on me. I got on the computer last night and figured out where the problem likely is (a plugged drain hose/pump) and got photos and diagrams. I took the front and back panels off to see if I can have a go at fixing it. I think it's definitely in the realm of the possible!

So beween that and the trip to the city to meet up with Dawn for some garage sale therapy today, and dropping the middle child off for his Wierd Al concert, I'll be away from my paint brushes.

We'll see if I will be able to report a victory that Dad would be proud of, or a tearful disasterous when I come back...which do you put your money on?

Friday, August 01, 2008

A House is just a House....

till you add a cut out paper family of wonky proportions and stick them in a pocket. Then it's a Soul Journal page.

Wanna' see my messy work area?

Of course you do! It will help you justify your own mess.

This is the first spread of the Day 16 challenge. I loved doing this! Random steps are so much fun! No pressure to come up with the perfect idea, just throw all the prompts in a hat and pick one out and go to town. And end up with something like this.
Don't like it?
Well, it's not my fault, I was at the mercy of the luck of the draw. See, that's what I like!

I hope you're having fun playing, and if you're wanting another challenge while Sarah's away, see the previous post.